Fostering an attitude of contented discontentment is a powerful tool in achieving financial independence and a fulfilling life in general.
This has been a struggle for me to put it mildly. I am far better than I used to be, but far from where I would like to be.
As life goes on you will find that there are more and more good opportunities, enjoyable activities, and important responsibilities that will come into your life. It is so easy to simply say “Yes! Absolutely!” when a good opportunity comes along.
I most definitely cannot do this topic justice in a simple letter. Many great people have written powerful works on the merits of humility.
All I can say is that I have grown to desire this character trait more than nearly any other and it is something that I admire most in those that I look to for guidance. Likely because it is a constant struggle for me.
No matter what you achieve, no matter your accomplishments, no matter how hard you work, you will always have others to thank for your success.
One of the most humbling things in my life is that, when I look back over the things that I think I have accomplished, I realize that so much of it has very little to do with me and very much to do with those that were willing to take a chance on me or pour into me.
I am most definitely biased when it comes to this topic. Ok, pretty much every topic I have written on. However, in the current economic landscape that we live in, the benefits of owning your own business are vast. We live in an exciting time in which technology continues to lower the barrier to entry for creating and operating a profitable business. I will simply cover what I believe to be the top three reasons here.
One thing that stands out to me as I interact with people later in their lives is that those who have spent their years continually learning and improving themselves exhibit many impressive characteristics that I hope to have in my own life.
Wisdom, humility, gentleness, confidence, servant leadership. The list of the admirable attributes of a life-long learner is never-ending. However, continuous learning most definitely does not happen by accident. It is an intentional choice.
As is often the case, I am writing about a topic that I have yet to fully master. “Busyness” carries with it the connotation of importance in our society. Nearly every day in response to the question, “How are things going?”, I will hear , “I am so busy.” (I am definitely guilty of this from time to time but have really tried to work on it).
I should probably apologize because no doubt by the time you are old enough to read this letter, this principle will likely have been modeled and so drilled into you that the last thing you will want to do is read a letter on it. However, that doesn’t make it any less true so you get to hear it from me again here.
The pricelessness of flexibility in work and life comes back to the fact that time is that precious resource that we can never buy back.
I was recently asked by a group of advisors for my input on the importance of taking time away from the business to plan and work on the business. My response was that I believed that taking intentional time away from life and business to plan your life and business is the most impactful thing that can be done to drive real success.
“Be careful not to climb the ladder so fast that when you get to the top you realize that it is leaning up against the wrong building.”
This strategy for financial independence is simple and does not require any fancy calculations to prove its validity. Saving and investing half of your income nearly guarantees that you will be financially independent in less than 15 years. Of course there are no complete guarantees when it comes to money, but this comes very close.
I write this letter with more sorrow in my heart than usual. The reason is that this is a lesson that I have had to learn over and over again throughout my life so far and will likely continue to learn.
There have already been too many times in my life where I was not wise enough to hear both sides of the story of a situation or to go to the source of information that was passed on to me. I suspect that it was out of fear and laziness that I have not always made the effort to verify information shared with me about a third person and the result is often hurt and/or loss of relationship.